Tor Messenger is an effort similar to Tor Browser Bundle, it uses the existing Instantbird messaging solution from Mozilla and routes the data through the Tor network. However, unlike the existing solutions like ricochet, which targets anonymity, Tor Messenger works with services you already use like Jabber (XMPP), IRC, Google Talk, Facebook Chat, Twitter, Yahoo, and others. It also enables Off-the-Record (OTR) Messaging automatically. As you are chatting with your existing contacts, you are not anonymous. However, the communication is encrypted and much more difficult to trace by a man in the middle.
The team chose Instantbird as it is writen in a memory safe language – JS, has a GUI and supports many natural languages. However, the stronger driving factor would have been the use of XUL, which means a lot of code could be re-used and porting would have been easier. Being a Mozilla product, Instantbird has a strong community behind it. The Tor team has implemented OTR for Instantbird, which was missing.
Future features include:
- Reproducible builds for Windows and OS X
- Automatic updates
- Improved Tor support
- OTR over Twitter DMs
- Produce (and distribute) internationalized builds
- Secure multi-party communication (np1sec)
- Encrypted file-transfers
- Usability study
The current release is a beta. Download links for different Operating Systems and architectures are available in the announcement page.